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Acts of the Apostles 4:13-21
Psalm 118:1 & 14-15AB, 16-18, 19--21
Mark 16:9-15
Jesus transforms the heartbreak and brokenness of
his confused, bitter, and grief-stricken disciples. As a
result, they change the world. We can too.
The older I get, the humanity of the real people in the scriptures becomes
more understandable to me. For most of my life I wondered why the disci-
ples were resistant to believing that Jesus could be alive. They didn’t be-
lieve (and ridiculed) Mary Magdalene who saw the risen Jesus outside his
tomb. Nor did they believe the pair on road to Emmaeus who had chatted
with him along the way, later recognizing him as they broke bread that
evening. When Jesus appeared to the Eleven, they too were breaking
bread together, and they too recognized him at last. He scolded them a
little. After all, hadn’t he told them he would die and then rise on the third
day? Perhaps more so, he was displeased with their hardness of heart, with
their criticism and ridicule of those who claimed they had seen him alive.
Love one another, he surely reminded them.
However, from experiencing a tragic loss, I better understand the emotions
in play. The disciples were deeply traumatized by all that had transpired in
the past few days. Life as they had known it, living and traveling with this
wonderful, inspired man, dreams and visions of their future, and belief it-
self, were now dust. The public torture and humiliating execution of Jesus,
the man they had followed, given up everything for, was far too much to
process. They were in a deep state of shock, of profound grief, confusion,
and shame. They were heartsick at their lack of loyalty. They had all run
away, from him, from this horrid Roman ritual, afraid of guilt by associa-
tion, and unable to stomach the horror right before their eyes. They heard,
secondhand, that he was dead and buried. So much shame, disappoint-
ment in themselves, so much regret. So much loss…too much. Unthinkable.